Blinds have become increasingly popular over recent years and quickly replacing curtains in the home. Sadly, the lack of blind safety has led to 32 deaths of children between 2001 and 2018 due to blind cords. These are all preventable deaths if appropriate blind safety actions are in place. There is now legislation to ensure that all suppliers and fitters of blinds in commercial and residential properties meet these requirements.
Who does it apply to?
Child safety applies to everyone that has blinds or curtains in their home or workplace, children can be present at any location and we will never know what age or ability they will be on any given day. It is the responsibility of the person fitting the blinds to make sure they are safe but there is also a responsibility on everyone to know that their blinds are safe and if they are not, then to do something about it. It refers to all types of blinds; romans, verticals, rollers, corded curtain poles and any other window dressings that have cords and chains.
How can I make my blinds safe in my home?
There are two main ways to make blinds safe, safe by design and safe by fitting which must be included on all blinds.
Safe by design: When blinds are made there are features that must be added to ensure safety, these include; breakaway toggles, breakaway chains and tension devices which allow the cords to be released if a child was to become entangled. One of the best ways to prevent children becoming tangled in cords is to install motorised blinds.
Safe by fitting: When blinds are fitted there are strict rules to adhere to ensure that if cords have been used there is a cleat large enough to take all of the cord and that the cord never hangs lower than 150cm from the floor.
You may have had blinds in your home for many years, or they may already have been in place when you moved into your home, there are many features that you can put in place to make them safe.
- Dangling cords are the most dangerous hazard, simply by adding a cleat to the wall at 150cm off the floor, one that is large enough for all the cord (you may require two if the cord is long) which can prevent a child being able to reach it.
- Continuous chains on blinds can cause a similar problem to cords, if the chain is less than 150cm off the floor then a clip must be added to prevent it swinging and becoming an attractive game for small children.
- Keeping furniture away from windows, children can easily climb to reach window dressings and dangling cords. This would include dressers, chairs and book shelves. Leaving the window area free of climbing ideas keeps the area a play free zone.
- More information can be found at RoSPA
I don’t have any children so I don’t need it….
Whilst you may not have any children yourself, it does not mean that children may not visit your home, it may be a friend visiting with their child or grandchildren coming to stay. If you were to move out of your home and leave the blinds behind, children may then move in. Even if you have a room that children do not spend time in, they may wander in and investigate without you realising.
It’s not really something I can afford…
If cost is an issue, it would be safer to install something other than blinds at the window rather than choose a cheaper option that might compromise safety.
I’m in rented accommodation and they’re not child safe…
It is the responsibility of the landlord/letting agent to ensure that safety features are in place, if this is not possible, you may be able to follow some of the steps above to improve the safety in your home.
I don’t want to ruin my tiles or paint work by adding clips or cleats to the wall…
If there are issues with adding cleats or clips to the wall then blinds are the not the option for that window and another window dressing should be considered.
I’m making them myself or getting a friend to make them so this doesn’t apply to me…
Whilst the law only currently applies to the trades of blinds and curtains cords/chains, it is not known if the deaths that have occurred have been as a result of professionally fitted blinds or not. To remain safe in your home and protect small children, the advice would be to follow the guidance to prevent the worst possible outcome.
I appreciate that this can be a difficult subject for many to talk about but the more that it is publicised about blind safety then we can all aim to reduce the amount of accidents that happen in the home with children. In my previous life, prior to starting up Charlotte Briscoe Interiors, I was a Public Health Nurse which meant I sadly dealt with similar situations to this which is why it is so important to me to share with you so that safety features can be put in place. We strongly believe in blind safety and go to a great effort to source the safest and most effective headrails on the market.
Please share with your friends and family and if you have any questions about blind safety please do not hesitate to get in touch.